CUNY Librarians Give Presentations at Ex Libris Conference at University of Oxford

October 17, 2014 | News

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Kevin Collins, Aleph Systems Librarian, and Allie Verbovetskaya, Web & Mobile Systems Librarian, both with the CUNY Office of Library Services, gave presentations at the Ex Libris User Conference and Technical Seminar in the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford in September. The conference addresses the interests of more than 350 institutions around the world using Ex Libris products.

In the first of the presentations, “Managing a Three-Ring Circus,” Mr. Collins and Ms. Verbovetskaya recounted for their audience of systems librarians and technical staff how they managed to successfully upgrade an outdated library system and implement a new and complex library discovery interface while conducting business as usual: delivering technical services to a quarter million users at CUNY. Their achievement is all the more remarkable considering they completed the projects with a lean team of six people in four months. The key to their success lies in streamlining the services they provided, partly with automatic service requests for frequently asked questions about Aleph, CUNY libraries’ integrated library system and Primo, its discovery layer known as CUNY OneSearch. The team also created brief video tutorials to answer frequently asked questions about the new Aleph environment.

In her presentation, “Text Me Maybe, Implementing Texting Functionality in the Aleph OPAC,” Ms. Verbovetskaya spoke about her innovation of implementing texting functionality in the university’s online public access catalog (OPAC), administered by Ex Libris, which would enable users to send item holdings information to their mobile phone.

Mr. Collins said that for him the draw of the IGeLU conference was the opportunity to learn from other Aleph administrators in Europe. Ms. Verbovetskaya acknowledged that the experience of sharing knowledge within the walls of Oxford University was both exhilarating and humbling. Greg Gosselin, University Director of Library Systems, said that considering complexity of CUNY’s systems environment, establishing relationships with European colleagues has the inherent benefits of being able to exchange ideas and solutions personally. “We’re fortunate indeed to be afforded the opportunity to travel and educate others about the CUNY way,” he said.

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Here’s the abstract for “Managing a Three-Ring Circus”:
Picture this: Your academic library consortium (with 21 members), with a centrally-managed but out-of-date ILS, is clamoring for a discovery tool. So much so, in fact, that several members have gone rogue and purchased their own discovery systems. Your ILS is locally hosted and stable but requires an upgrade before you can implement the discovery tool. What do you do? If you’re the City University of New York, you do both—at once! Learn how CUNY upgraded its Aleph ILS from version 18 to 21 (on a three-tiered server topology with encryption) while simultaneously implementing Primo in a hosted environment. Find out how we managed the projects, sought input from consortium members, automated comprehensive reporting from both systems, and streamlined workflows.

The PowerPoint slides for “Managing a Three Ring Circus” are available here:
Circus: http://igelu.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/9.5-IGeLU_-_2014-09-16_-_Collins_Verbovetskaya_-_Managing_a_three-ring_circus.pptx

Here’s the abstract for “Text me, maybe”:
In April 2013, the City University of New York implemented a new feature in its OPAC (used by the university’s 21 colleges and schools): the ability for users to send item holdings information to their mobile phones. Over 11,000 text messages have been sent, making it one of the OPAC’s most popular features. The presenter will share the code she wrote and discuss possible enhancements, as well as its potential for integration with Primo.

The PowerPoint slides for “Text me, maybe” are available here:
Texting: http://igelu.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/11-11_-_Text_me_maybe.pptx